A
recent letter regarding my efforts to prevent
egregious bonuses at companies receiving bailout funds, such
as AIG, mischaracterized that I was somehow unaware a measure I
co-authored in the Senate-passed stimulus bill was regrettably
removed at the eleventh hour.

During February’s
Senate debate on the stimulus package, Sen. Ron Wyden and I saw the
necessity – long before the AIG scandal – of compelling
institutions that received bailout money to return excessive bonuses or
face stiff tax penalties. To her credit, Sun Journal
reporter Rebekah Metzler recognized and covered the issue on Feb.
10. Our amendment would have prevented AIG from doling $165 million in bonuses and recouped $18.4 billion in
bonuses already paid by other bailout recipients in 2008. 

Contrary
to assertions made by your reader, I was well aware and appalled
that, despite our vigorous efforts to preserve this measure, it was
stripped after objections were
raised – especially by the Treasury Department.  Given our
economy desperately required the stimulative measures in the bill, I
decided against delaying a final vote on the package.

Unfortunately,
only after the outrageous AIG bonuses were handed out did others
recognize the significance of this provision, and the calamity at AIG
that it could have forestalled. I share Mainers’ frustration over
the current economic crisis.

The reckless greed that precipitated
this financial meltdown are unconscionable and outrageous — and,
indisputably, those responsible must be held fully accountable.

Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, Washington, D.C. 


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